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Spielberg on Spielberg - A TCM Original Documentary
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Spielberg on Spielberg

He is a director who, for more than three decades, has inspired audiences to a clearer understanding of history, challenged them to tackle questions of moral ambiguity and dilemma, left them unsure of what may come from the skies (or from the future) and even stirred in some a fear of swimming in the ocean. And in the Turner Classic Movies original documentary SPIELBERG ON SPIELBERG (2007), two-time Best Director Oscar® winner Steven Spielberg discusses his meteoric rise to success in Hollywood, as well as the motion pictures that took him there. The 90-minute special, which features exclusive and detailed interviews with arguably the most popular and influential director of his time, is produced by Richard Schickel, who created similar programs on Woody Allen and Martin Scorsese.

With the man himself as viewers' personal guide, SPIELBERG ON SPIELBERG charts a path through the amazing and diverse canon that represents Spielberg's body of work. He explains how during high school he got his start with Universal Studios – which he says felt more familiar to him than the house in which he grew up – by hiding in a bathroom while on a public tour and eventually securing a three-day pass from a film librarian. The skills he acquired on set led to Amblin', his first college project and the film that earned him a seven-year contract with Universal. It also provided the name for his Amblin Entertainment production company.

Spielberg, who has never recorded a audio commentary track for the home video releases of any of his movies, reminisces about his earliest directorial efforts, including a segment of the movie pilot for Night Gallery, featuring the legendary Joan Crawford, who at first balked at the idea of being directed by a 22-year-old and later came to admire his talent; the television thriller Duel; and the critically acclaimed Goldie Hawn vehicle The Sugarland Express. Next he turns his attention to Jaws and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, the blockbusters that made him a household name. He then evaluates what he believes were the reasons behind his first critical and box-office setback in 1941.

The bulk of SPIELBERG ON SPIELBERG features discussions about the more than 20 years of filmmaking that followed and the classics that resulted, from the action-adventure of Raiders of the Lost Ark and Jurassic Park to the touching poignancy of E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial and The Color Purple to the uncompromising personal drama of Schindler's List, Saving Private Ryan and Munich.

"This is a director of staggering range," said Schickel. "He's a great entertainer, but he is also (and increasingly) a morally serious artist. He's funny, self-deprecating, immensely knowledgeable technically and very smart about himself and his work. I think when they see this film, audiences will get to know him better than they ever have."

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